Overnight Success is a Myth

Jaburg Wilk
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Jaburg Wilk

We all know the cliché “overnight success.” In the real world anyone who is an overnight success has put in the time to be a success. And most people don’t even realize it. For instance, the Beatles are viewed as an overnight success. Actually, their rise to the top took approximately five years, thousands of hours of practice, and hundreds of live performances. To think they didn’t put in the time and sacrifice to get to the top is incorrect.

Their first UK number 1 was in May 1963 and their first US number 1 was in January 1964, but John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met in 1957. Thereafter, Lennon asked McCartney to join the Quarrymen, who, other than Lennon, were not very good musicians. In 1958, after lots of practice and many shows, George Harrison joined the group. By 1959, only the three future Beatles remained in the band.

In 1960 they renamed themselves the Beatles. From August 1960 through December 1962, they spent a lot of time in Hamburg, Germany. They lived in one cramped room with a bathroom down the hall, practiced for hours each day, and played clubs at night. They put in hard work and sacrificed to improve their skills. Obviously, it worked for them.

You are asking yourself, “okay, but what does this mean to me?” It is this type of investment in yourself and commitment to whatever you are doing, whether alone or in a group, that gives you the best chance to succeed in any field. I could have told you the same story about entrepreneurs, professionals, or others from almost any industry. The Beatles are a good example because everyone knows who they are, thinks their success was immediate when it wasn’t, and don’t realize the time and energy they invested in themselves leading to their huge success.

What stories of peoples’ different roads to success have in common is a significant time investment and hard work. Of course, this alone doesn’t guaranty success, but it gives you a much better shot. You need to plan strategies for your business, career, networking, marketing, and whatever else you’re doing. This should be done regularly for both the short term and the long term. If you ask most successful people you know, you will get a good story about what it took for them to reach where they are. If you probe further, you will learn those same people continually are trying to improve, because staying on top of the mountain is as hard as reaching the summit.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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